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Past keeping faith with future… and day with night

David Brin

February 08, 2013

Why the U.S. Civil War -relates to Sci Fi. Each night in November we watched Ken Burns's CIVIL WAR documentary with our 16 year old. A terrific work of high-class, dramatic and enriching media, very highly recommended. Still, I felt the documentary was a bit light on the underlying causes of a national trauma that is resonating within and among Americans.


Complete entry


Posted by Intomorrow  on  02/08  at  04:47 PM

“But oh, how horrible it would be to live - as human beings - without any romance at all!”

As human beings, yes. But if you could trade places with Spock or another decent Vulcan (were there wicked Vulcans? don’t remember) for example, would you? I wouldn’t hesitate: humans are way, way too bloodyminded/violent, fickle/wavering, etc. Being a Vulcan would be IMO a ‘no-brainer’.
As for the Civil War, things become morally v. fast: Northern wage slavery was hypocritical to the point of nearly negating the issue of Southern slavery; but there was just enough, as you pretty much say above, to fuel the Yankee effort. It was moral brinkmanship—but isn’t such universal? One would then write the Civil War was a contest to impose either Northern wage or Southern bona-fide, slavery on the huge Western territories (which had belonged to the ‘Indians’). What a tangled web we weaved.
Nazism vs. Stalinism was for starters a contest to impose either National Socialism or Sovietism on an eastern Europe caught in the middle. Then there was a major nation—Germany—trapped between Communism and Capitalism…

Posted by Intomorrow  on  02/09  at  07:10 AM

.. “But slavery is gone.  So why are we still blatantly fighting the same Civil War, 150 years later? ... Can it be something deeper and psychological?”

Deep and psychological even as per today’s conditions: today’s wage slavery in the US and slavery in sweatshops overseas is in the back of any thinking person’s mind- we are certainly not proud of it. But more on-topic:

“Across pretty much the same geographical and cultural divide?”

That’s a relatively easy one to figure. The contest between the definitely more religious South versus the obviously more secular North comes to mind right off.
‘Right To Work’ states located in the South versus more prevalent proletarian progressivism in the North. Regulations versus lowering costs. Even Southern Charm versus the Godfatha in New Yawk.

Problem with romance is, take it too far then why is it any different from religious fetishes? It becomes a great deal of chittering. Why is romance so different from monkeys cooing about bananas in the jungle? IMO romance is whole lot of monkey business; let’s not make it more than it is—or less. Romance is overrated.
No problem with the teachings of Christ, but when Christians blubber over infant Jesus in the manger that is where I draw the line.
Nothing wrong with an old man mentioning his grandkids once in a while.. yet when he goes on about what an angel his granddaughter is and how the older one by another son is planning on attending Wellesley, I want to yell:
‘I don’t know her so why bring up her case!’
When coots get misty eyed it is time to head for the door.

Posted by Intomorrow  on  02/10  at  07:12 AM

#3, to continue the monologue:
the duality is that romance can be special and or sacred; yet it can also be simian chitter chatter. We hear the chittering when watching celebrity shows, but we don’t hear it in ourselves as much.

An observation on the Civil War:
the North waited four score and five before attacking the South (the South’s attack on the fort near Sumter was defensive in effect), it waited until all other possibilities had been pretty much exhausted. But aside from the hypocrisy of wage slavery (10+ hrs. a day under harsh conditions) youthful cannon fodder primarily fought the Civil War.. contemporary orators knew that the pen is not only mightier than the sword, it is far far safer. A paper-cut is better than getting your face blown off by a shell. If we want to ruminate on the Civil War—or any war—we had better take such into account.

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